After graduating from the College of Law on May 7, Mauricio Murga Rios will head to central Florida to serve as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow.
The two-year, highly sought-after fellowship is a first for a University of Nebraska College of Law alumnus. It will allow Murga Rios to continue supporting the needs of immigrants.
“Receiving this fellowship is a great honor,” Murga Rios said. “I will receive unmatched training and the support necessary to provide exceptional legal advocacy for the immigrant community. I want to be the best, because people without access to a lawyer need and deserve the best.”
The California native is no stranger to the legal injustices that immigrants face. When he saw a good friend get deported after being let down by his legal representative, Murga Rios knew he had found his calling.
Murga Rios was drawn to Nebraska Law for its low tuition and focus on public interest careers. While earning his degree, Murga Rios has worked to hone his knowledge of immigration practices and develop his advocacy skills.
He spent the first law school summer working for an immigration attorney, where he helped immigrants fleeing violence in their home country remain in the United States. The second year of law school brought opportunities to further focus his passion on supporting immigrants.
Murga Rios represented Nebraska Law at the National Law Students Workers’ Rights Conference in 2019. As a person who had been denied employment because of immigration status, the experience was extremely personal and provided valuable insight into advocating for workers and their families. In Lincoln, Murga Rios worked as part of a legal triage team during the citywide Project Connect, a one-day event where individuals or families of limited means receive services for unmet needs, and he provided assistance during the college’s first naturalization clinic.
Last summer, Murga Rios worked for the Los Angeles County Public Defender Immigration Unit where he equipped criminal defense attorneys with the resources necessary to preserve their immigrant clients’ status and/or eligibility for future immigration relief. The best part of the experience, he said, was working with a group of people who have an unrelenting desire to advocate for non-citizens.
“The best part of the immigration unit was working with a group of people who have an unrelenting desire to advocate for non-citizens,” Murga Rios said. “Through projects such as DACA and BLM, I helped non-citizens charged with a crime not only get high-quality representation, but also helped them remain in the United States by equipping public defenders with the resources necessary to preserve their status and/or eligibility for future immigration relief.”
During his final year at the College of Law, Murga Rios continued to strengthen his advocacy skills as a member of the Nebraska Law Trial Team, winning the regional competition with his team. He also worked as a senior-certified law student in the Immigration Clinic where he worked with low-income clients on a variety of family-based immigrant cases and learned first-hand what is it like to develop an attorney-client relationship
Murga Rios is one of 28 law school graduates selected nationwide to participate in the Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship.